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Trump: Nuclear threat from North Korea is over, you know

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It is? After a successful start to talks between the US and North Korea, Donald Trump seems eager to claim complete victory. In a tweet this morning, Trump advised the American people that they can “sleep well tonight” with the Pyongyang threat resolved:

President Trump declared Wednesday that there is “no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea” as he returned to Washington, offering a rosy assessment of a summit with the leader of a nation that still possesses nuclear weapons. …

Trump’s tweets followed a high-profile summit in Singapore with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that produced a promise to “denuclearize” the Korean Peninsula but was scant on details.

His tweets came shortly after Air Force One landed at Joint Base Andrews just outside Washington.

There’s a wee problem with this victory lap, which is that we, um, still haven’t actually won anything yet. The agreement signed yesterday delivered nothing more than the remains of POWs and MIAs, plus an agreement to keep talking about denuclearization. Trump and Kim clearly discussed a process of denuclearization and verification, but until that process is complete, Kim still has his nukes and the delivery systems to launch them at the US and our allies. That threat is not just real but acute, even if it is less acute than it was three months ago.

Trump’s supporters and critics tried to rush to judgments yesterday in the wake of the post-summit declaration too. In my column for The Week, I argue that it’s way too soon to score:

Rather than see this as a first step in a process with unknown outcomes, most people appeared to rush to various conclusions: One side hailed the meeting as a historic achievement that should guarantee Trump a place in history, while the other considered it a surrender by Trump and a betrayal of our allies. In truth, very little has changed. Both sides have had an opportunity to size each other up and prepare for the next steps of the process, assuming those next steps come at all.

We have plenty of time to pass judgment on this strategy depending on the eventual outcome. Let’s not forget that the world hailed 1994’s Agreed Framework, which was supposed to halt North Korea’s power plant program, as a historic achievement at the time, only to discover that North Korea had been cheating all along and never planned to denuclearize. When attempts to tighten the inspection regime were made, it collapsed and led to the arms race that brought us to where we are today. Kim and his regime may still think they can get away with a similar ploy, which will make this week’s summit just another missed opportunity in a nuclear standoff. On the other hand, the summit managed to at least change the rhetoric between the two nations, allowing an opportunity for progress if — and it’s a big if — the Kim regime really does want to find a way out of the nuclear standoff it created with the U.S. and cannot hope to win.

But as tempting as it might seem, let’s not jump to conclusions just yet. We haven’t lost anything, but we also haven’t yet solved the problem. Trump himself noted that, in six months, he may very well wind up with egg on his face if Kim backtracks or refuses to commit to verifiable denuclearization. Given the history of the Kim regime, it pays to be skeptical, but not close-minded. It certainly doesn’t pay to declare victory just yet.

Trump should take more care than most on this point. The history of our dealings with Pyongyang contains mostly reversals on pledges by the Kim regime and balks at verification. The fact that they have nuclear weapons now stands as a testament to another supposed “win” for one of Trump’s predecessors, the Agreed Framework deal cut by Bill Clinton in 1994. That was another peace-in-our-time moment with North Korea that wound up leaving egg on our collective faces. The Kim regime will not give up its nuclear weapons easily, and claiming that the threat is over after a single meeting is naive at best.

If one believes the North Koreans, the process for eliminating the nuclear threat will be slow and contentious:

North Korea’s state-run media is framing the agreements reached at the Singapore summit as a “step-by-step” process intended to bring U.S. rewards in exchange for gradual moves by Pyongyang to dismantle its nuclear program.

The account Wednesday in the official Rodong Sinmun newspaper could signal the first rift with President Trump over the perceived way forward with the North’s leader, Kim Jong Un. The extensive and — by North Korean standards — speedy coverage also suggested an attempt to set the post-summit narrative of the vaguely worded declaration signed by Kim and Trump. …

The overall message appeared mostly aimed at North Koreans, portraying Kim as setting the terms of the post-summit framework and at the helm of further policy shifts away from emphasis on the nuclear arsenal — which Kim long called the nation’s “treasured sword.”

“Kim Jong Un is showing that he is not succumbing to external pressure, but carrying out denuclearization based on his own plan and vision,” said Lee Jong-seok, a North Korea expert at Seoul’s Sejong Institute, a government-affiliated think tank.

It is imperative for the Kim regime to show that any nuclear rollbacks were voluntary and not the subject of demands and threats from the United States, he noted.

Even if Kim has agreed to actually denuclearize, that decision could change depending on the fraught internal politics of the regime. It will be a long, long time before we can say that the nuclear threat from North Korea no longer exists, if indeed we ever can. And we’ll need a lot more verification of that than just a few presidential tweets, too.

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Miss America complains the organization marginalized her

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A groundbreaking member of the #MeToo movement is now being accused of bullying, marginalizing, and manipulating women herself. At least one woman, anyway. The current Miss America, Cara Mund, penned a letter to 1984 Miss America Suzette Charles, now made public, that can only be described as highly unusual. The Chairman of the Miss America Organization, former Fox News anchor and pageant winner Gretchen Carlson along with the organization’s CEO Regina Hopper are called out for some very unempowering behavior.

Remember when Gretchen Carlson left Fox News and accused Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes of sexual harassment? She brought a lawsuit against him and ended up with a settlement of $20M and an apology. Eight months ago, Carlson swooped in and declared herself the savior of the Miss America pageant, working to bring the beauty contest into the modern era.

It turns out, however, that Carlson and Hopper are victimizing the 2018 title-holder with much the same verbal and mental abuse that Carlson accused her former employer of during her time at Fox if Mund’s allegations are truthful. Mund’s letter is in response to the organization’s reaction after she gave an interview in Atlantic City that included less than glowing words about happiness in her job. She takes no prisoners. (emphasis hers)

Let me be blunt: I strongly believe that my voice is not heard nor wanted by our current leadership; nor do they have any interest in knowing who I am and how my experiences relate to positioning the organization for the future. I truly felt more valued, respected, and viewed as a real collaborator within my first three months rather than these last eight months. The differences in treatment are stark.

Our chair and CEO have systematically silenced me, reduced me, marginalized me, and essentially erased me in my role as Miss America in subtle and not-so-subtle ways on a daily basis.

After a while, the patterns have clearly emerged, and the sheer accumulation of the disrespect, passive-aggressive behavior, belittlement, and outright exclusion has taken a serious toll.
She goes on to complain about talking points issued that she is expected to work into any speech or interview but most of all she is really not ok with Carlson being the face of the pageant. This stage isn’t big enough for the both of us, missy. 

Right away, new leadership delivered an important message: There will be only one Miss America at a time, and she isn’t me.

To reinforce this, they told me that I’m not important enough to do big interviews, and that the major press is “obviously” reserved for Gretchen. Step out of line there and not only do you get treated to being pulled into the office for a dressing down by Regina, but Brent Adams also joins in on the action.

Brent Adams is VP of Branding and Development. Mund didn’t like missing a trip to Cannes, either.

Gretchen and Brent went to Cannes, representing the organization at a global marketing and advertising conference where Gretchen spoke about Miss America in the era of #MeToo. While they were in France, I was back in North Dakota. If I’d been invited to attend and speak about the relevance of Miss America, I would have been able to tell the world how I, as a young leader, have firsthand knowledge and experience regarding the ways in which MAO is supposedly poised for the future. Such an invitation would require the leadership to care who I am and maybe learn why the judges selected me in the first place.

While I quickly became bored with her self-pity and complaints that she’s treated as an employee and not the boss, she does present an interesting resume which she thinks uniquely qualifies her for the job she holds. She began her full-time working career in the office of Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) and also worked in public relations for the fashion industry.

I have prepared for ups and downs and challenges not just for this job but for any job. My first full-time job was working in Washington, D.C. for Senator John Hoeven. This experience brought me in touch with a wide range of constituents, witnessing their passion for legislation and policies that positively impact their lives. I was working for the Senator during two major events of controversy: 2016 Election and North Dakota’s Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). I know the importance of communication because I was listening and responding to all sides of issues. From that job, I was inspired to continue being an advocate as Miss America. I did everything I could this year to take advantage of this opportunity. I even personally paid part of my airfare to attend the 2018 State of the Union because I wanted Miss America represented!

The final insult to Ms. Mund is the organization’s decision to whittle down her appearance in the 2019 pageant to only 30 seconds. Ouch. She calls it retribution for her interview with the Atlantic City press.

This is all very unusual. Miss America and other beauty pageants strive for an atmosphere that is non-controversial. They are only made possible with the help of corporate sponsors and have to appeal to middle America for television ratings. Though recent years have brought more and more openly political tone in the questions being asked of contest finalists, which is really the wrong path to take in my opinion, usually scandals come from past personal behavior of a winner that surface.

The Miss America Organization released a statement in response to Mund’s letter Friday.

“It is disappointing that she chose to air her grievances publicly not privately.  Her letter contains mischaracterizations and many unfounded accusations. We are reaching out to her privately to address her concerns,” says the statement. “The Miss America Organization supports Cara.”

The Miss America pageant is a business. It looks like Cara Mund had to find that out the hard way. Her first mistake was believing that a beauty contest was going to be all about empowering women in today’s world. Carlson made the decision to eliminate the swimsuit competition but it’s still a beauty contest. Most of the young women are pursuing educational opportunities and that is where the importance of the scholarships awarded to the winners comes in. Many winners have taken their time in the spotlight and made the most of it. Good for them. Make no mistake, however. When the audience looks at Miss America, the first thought is not about her intelligence.

Mund is learning a lesson that young people have to do as they get into the working world – in return for the paycheck, the boss calls the shots. Publicly calling your boss a bully isn’t a smart path to career advancement.

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MAYHEM IN SEATTLE: Police Toss Antifa Around, Make Arrests After They Harass and Threaten Conservative Group in Restaurant (VIDEO)

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Proud Boys, Patriot Prayer members, Bikers for Trump and others attended a Patriot rally in Seattle on Saturday, and as expected, masked Antifa thugs showed up.

The Proud Boys did not back down. At one point, one of the Proud Boys unmasked a cowardly Antifa thug and mocked him.

Seattle police eventually arrested several Antifa thugs.

Antifa and other leftist protesters began instigating after they followed a few Proud Boys into a restaurant in downtown Seattle called “Juno.”

The bartender explains to the Proud Boys and Antifa that everyone can stay in Juno so long as they remain civil. Seattle Police officers are also inside the restaurant to make sure things stay civil, reported, Mike Bivins.

VIDEO:


Proud Boys left Juno and a little verbal back-and-forced followed after a Proud Boy yanked off the Antifa thug’s mask! (language warning)

Notice the Antifa coward did NOTHING after he was unmasked and mocked.

Seattle police are starting to get involved (language warning)

All hell broke loose after a few dozen police officers on bikes rushed over to arrest several Antifa thugs.

VIDEO:

The left always falsely accuses the Proud Boys of being racists when in reality they are patriotic American men from all walks of life.

Twitter recently banned all Proud Boys accounts including founder Gavin McInnes.

After the Twitter bans, McInnes told the Gateway Pundit that “the dumbasses on the left are saying we were banned ‘before Unite the Right rally.’ I clearly disavowed that. It’s not our bag.”

In fact, the day before his suspension McInnes tweeted, “it goes without saying the Proud Boys won’t have anything to do with this. We are a multiracial club that eschews the alt-right and everything they and #occupyWallStreet’s Jason Kessler stand for. He’s a DNC operative.”

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Michelle Wolf’s staff: It was “classless” of Netflix to cancel us without telling us first

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“Classless.” These people once threw a parade for abortion on the show.

All in all, it lasted three months. Don’t think of it as being canceled, conservatives sniffed last night on Twitter after the news broke, think of it as being terminated in the first trimester.

Tough day for liberals, though. Where will they go now for comic affirmation of their deepest political prejudices?

[W]hen The Break premiered in May, Wolf was riding higher than pretty much any other comedian in the country after her breakthrough performance at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. As recently as last week White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was still talking about how much her jokes stung…

“None of us can believe how classlessly Netflix has handled this,” a source connected to the show told The Daily Beast after the news broke, noting that the entire writing staff and even the showrunners found out they had been fired on Twitter…

The utter opacity of Netflix’s model makes it impossible to know how many people were watching The Break on a weekly basis, but the show’s cultural impact could be felt on a near-weekly basis.

Both the Hollywood Reporter and Deadline cite sources who say that ratings weren’t what execs were hoping for. God only knows how bad your numbers have to be to get canceled on a platform with unlimited server space and no time-slots to worry about. As such, Wolf’s alleged “cultural impact” was the same as Lena Dunham’s “cultural impact,” a big zero among the general population but a reliable preoccupation of two tiny, marginal slivers of society — entertainment critics who loved her because they shared her sensibilities and righty media types like me who disdain them. Some impact.

Every piece on Wolf’s misfortune today mentions two points. One: Political comedy, already dominated by white men, is a little whiter and more male today. (Matt Wilstein of the Daily Beast, noting that Hasan Minhaj has a show in the works for Netflix, notes with relief, “He may not be a woman, but at least he’s not another white guy.” Whew.) True, although the very white and male Joel McHale had his own show liquidated by Netflix yesterday. Should Wolf have been given a longer leash in the name of diversity? Three months ain’t much time to build an audience, in fairness, but maybe a company that’s famously willing to greenlight nearly anything is, ironically, prone to shorter leashes than other platforms. Netflix doesn’t need to worry about server space or time slots but it does need to worry about money. If Wolf’s ratings were bad and there are literally dozens of other show ideas on the table that they’re looking to bankroll, why continue to plow cash into her show?

Two: Wolf is a “hot commodity” after her White House Correspondents Dinner barrage against Sarah Sanders and others, or so we’re told. I guess that’s true — she was in the news for a few weeks — but my memory is that Colbert’s attack on Bush at the 2006 WHCD drew much greater buzz afterward than Wolf’s set this year did. That has less to do with their comparative merits than with the fact that Bush was sitting right there for Colbert’s broadsides while Trump skipped Wolf’s gig. If she had goofed on him to his face while he grimaced for the cameras, that would have satisfied the lefty id more fully and durably than taking a few potshots at Sanders did. I wonder too, though, if Wolf’s WHCD performance mattered less because people expect this sort of thing after the Colbert/Bush episode a dozen years ago. If you’re a woke comedian asked to do a set at an event attended by a Republican administration, you had damn well better hit hard or you’ll hear about it from your industry friends. How hot a commodity can you be for doing what everyone expected you to do, and which virtually any comedian except Dennis Miller would have done?

The real problem for Wolf, though, was saturation. If “The Break” were something novel, it’d be a magnet for liberal audiences. As it is, not only do you not need a streaming service to see this sort of thing, you don’t even need cable. Colbert himself hosts CBS’s late-night flagship show, for fark’s sake, and still dines out nightly on jokes about a Republican president. Kimmel has tried to get into the act to some extent too. If they’re too timid for you, though, you can get stronger, more Stewart-esque stuff from John Oliver on HBO or Samantha Bee on TBS. (“The Daily Show” isn’t what it was but it’s still chugging along too.) Even for someone who shares Wolf’s politics and enjoys “clapter” theater, how much can you take? When you’re bored with regular TV and flip over to Netflix to see what’s on, and you’re greeted with 47 new shows on a weekly basis, what would lead you to pass on all of that in order to carve out more time for Oliver-Bee “own the cons” stuff?

Here’s what America will be missing going forward. I’ll personally miss having a little extra outrage content on slow news days.

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